Sunday, July 5, 2009

Portrait #87: Mudeiraj Bridge

This bridge, on the road between Beirut and Damascus, crosses a steep gorge in the Lebanese mountains. It's extremely tall and has been destroyed and rebuilt often during Lebanan's tumultuous history. It's still not operational after the war with Israel in summer 2006. Right now, it's almost complete, and there is a big sign at its entrance informing the world that the US government (US Agency for International Development) is paying for its current rehabilitation.

As I drove under it, through the gorge it transverses, it struck me that this bridge is a symbol of courage, of refusal to give up. Anyone can destroy it but it will always be rebuilt, no matter how long it takes. Even though it's the last thing to be rebiult and the first thing to go in any new conflict.

It's also a symbol of power: an ongoing standoff between two worlds, and the stakes are getting higher. USAID funding helps to raise the stakes, somehow. The bridge itself is excessively big... as if the time and effort for building it will makes imminent destruction more significant. Build a bigger bridge so they can destroy a bigger bridge and then can be accused of a greater offense.

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